Illegal selling of fake COVID-19 test results reported in Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage on many countries in North and South America as well as in Asia. Not only has the pandemic caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, it has also pushed a lot of economies into recession. This has also forced many people to lose their jobs and become unemployed.
Some countries are rebuilding their economies by opening up their industries again. And one of the requirements to be able to go back to work – a coveted “negative” COVID-19 test. However, in countries with no available mass testing, expensive tests, or slow release of results, this can be a problem. This may be part of the reason that cases of fake COVID-19 test results are sprouting up in various countries.
One of the first reported falsification of results was from Bangkok, Thailand early in April 2020. This was back when the country was still controlling its first wave. Thai police arrested 24-year old Phitchayaphat Somsri from Lat Phrao, Bangkok. The authorities also confiscated 17 fake stamps bearing the names of private and public hospitals, 95 fake medical certificates, and a computer containing forms of 65 hospitals. Somsri admitted he was selling and advertised his services via the messaging app LINE where he sold the documents for 1000 baht each.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, 42-year old hospital owner Mohammed Shahed was arrested while trying to flee to India. Shahed was hunted by authorities after reports that the two hospitals he owned issued thousands of fake COVID-19 test results to patients without even testing them.
According to Dhaka police:
“His hospitals carried out 10,500 coronavirus tests, out of which 4,200 were genuine and the rest, 6,300 were given without conducting tests.”
The most recent news of falsified COVID-19 result came from the Philippines. The country is also struggling to contain the virus, placing as one of the countries with the most cases in Asia.
CNN Philippines reported that the illegal operation of the computer shop in Quezon City was posted by a concerned netizen who lives near the shop. The netizen captured photos of the computer shop employee typing results, and another picture of a man holding what appeared to be the finished medical certificates presumably ready for delivery.
As of writing, the shop has been raided and closed by the local police department.
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